Voters in every Western New York community outside of Buffalo will head to the voting booth Tuesday to consider school budgets, school board candidates and propositions.
The following capsules introduce the school board candidates and give the financial information voters can use to see how their money would be spent. All figures related to tax rates and tax bills are estimates, either provided by school officials, or calculated based on information they provided. The taxes on a $100,000 home do not include the STAR rebate.
Candidates (elect 2): William Smith (i); Mary Jo Clemens-Harris and John McDonald.
Total budget: $19.01 million, down 2.4 percent.
Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 90 percent.
Tax levy: $3.91 million, up 3.5 percent.
Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $15.96, up 54 cents
Taxes on a $100,000 home: $1,596
Percentage of budget from property taxes: 20.5 percent
Percentage of budget from state aid: 34.4 percent
Proposition 2: Proposal to convert Barker Free Library into a school district library with a $75,000 budget.
Proposition 3: Candidates for Library Board (Elect 7): Roy Anderson, James Trinder, Pamela Atwater, Terrence Upton, Henry Charache, Marilyn Zaciewski and Seanna Corwin-Bradley.
Polls open: Noon to 8 p.m. in the Barker High School Auditorium, 1628 Quaker Road.
Web link: www.barkercsd.net
Voters will consider a $19 million budget that cuts spending nearly $467,000 from its current level, a 2.4 percent reduction.
“While our expenditures have steadily risen, our revenues have decreased, primarily from our PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) with the Somerset coal plant (now Upstate Power Producers) , which will drop $3 million in 2013-14,” said Superintendent Roger Klatt.
To help cut down on costs, Barker and the Royalton-Hartland districts will share a superintendent. Effective July 1, Klatt will oversee both districts.
The district has also taken on other collaborative agreements with Roy-Hart “by sharing our football program, and we will share wrestling and some special education programs and a business teacher. We are also eliminating 6 full-time positions and will not fill vacancies created with retirements,” Klatt said.
Voters will choose from a field of three candidates for two school board openings. Candidates are:
• Incumbent William Smith, 73, retired Barker elementary teacher who has served on Barker School Board for 18 years, was board president for seven years and currently serves as vice president.
• Mary Jo Clemens-Harris, 44, is an optician. This is her second time running for a seat on the board.
• John McDonald , 65, retired General Motors toolmaker. Also taught vocational education for BOCES for 10 years. First time running for elected office.
• Candidates (elect 3): Jodee L. Riordan, Anna Boulay Wright, Betty VanDenBosch Warrick.
• Total budget: $40 million, down 1.16 percent.
• Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4 percent.
• Tax levy: $23.6 million, up 5.52 percent.
• Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $24.06 in Lewiston, up 5.22, and $20.69 in Porter, up 4.86 percent.
• Taxes on $100,000 home: $1,966.
• Percentage of budget from property taxes: 59 percent.
• Percentage of budget from state aid: 34.8 percent.
• Proposition 2: $26 million capital improvement project for interior and exterior reconstruction and renovation work for code and safety measures and upgrades throughout the district, as well as a number of enhancements and upgrades including the pool and locker room and air conditioning for the computer labs.
• Polls open: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Community Resource Center [board room], 4671 Creek Road.
• Web link: www.lew-port.com.
Despite an overall decrease from budget to budget, the proposed $40 million Lewiston-Porter budget would affect taxpayers with a 5.5 percent tax increase. The increased tax levy exceeds their district’s tax levy threshold and the proposed budget will need a 60 percent majority to pass. Superintendent R. Christopher Roser said the increase is caused by the loss of state aid from New York State’s gap elimination adjustment, which for each of the past three years took away $2.4 million in state aid from their district. “This is the fourth year in a row we are trying to operate with significantly less funds than we had four years ago.” He said they have attempted to avoid increases, staying at the same tax level for three years and at the threshold this past year, but he said this past year they were one of eight districts in the state operating with no fund balance. The proposed budget also cuts 23 positions – nine teachers, nine support staff and five they are not filling. “There is not a stash of money floating around in our budget. We’ve cut lots of positions, but this year we hit the wall. This will maintain the programming that our community wants for our students,” said Roser
Three candidates are running for two three-year terms on the board. They are:
• Board President Jodee L. Riordan, 44, of Youngstown, the mother of four, just completed her first three-year term, serving as president for two of those years. She has been active in a number of community organizations and served as president of the Lewiston-Porter Parent Teachers Association, including her first year as president of the Board of Education, serving for one year as president of both boards. She has lived in the district since 1987 and is a graduate of North Tonawanda High School and has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University at Buffalo. She is employed in sales as a contract administrator at Modern Disposal.
• Betty J. VanDenBosch Warrick, 45, of Youngstown is seeking her first term on the board. She has lived in the district for the past 20 years and is the mother of three children. She previously served as treasurer, vice president and president of the Lewiston-Porter Parent Teachers Association. She works as the general manager of U.S. operations for Yorkville Sound and has a background in credit management.
• Anna D. Bouley Wright, 32, of Youngstown has lived in the district for the past seven years. She is the mother of two children and is seeking her first term on the board. She has worked in management for 15 years and is currently employed as a general manager for a retail denim store.
• Candidates (elect 3): Diane Phelps; John Williams; Randall Parker; Marietta Schrader; Edward Sandell; Todd McNall.
• Total budget: $83.06 million, up 3.96 percent.
• Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.04 percent.
• Tax levy: $35.2 million, up 2 percent.
• Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: about $25.37, up 2 percent.
• Taxes on $100,000 home: $2,537.
• Percentage of budget from property taxes: 42.4 percent.
• Percentage of budget from state aid: 47.8 percent.
• Proposition 2: A $22.2 million capital project package including improvements to the kitchens of four elementary schools, and added security cameras and upgraded Internet connections and fiber optic cable at all schools.
If approved, the district intends to borrow $19.2 million on a 15-year bond at 2≤ percent interest. The state will reimburse the district’s costs at 92 cents on the dollar, but the district must spend the money up front. The remaining $3 million will be appropriated from a reserve fund.
•Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. in Washington Hunt Elementary School, 50 Rogers Ave. (1st Ward); Board of Education, 130 Beattie Ave. (2nd Ward); Anna Merritt Elementary School, 389 Green St. (3rd Ward); Charles Upson Elementary School, 28 Harding Ave. (4th Ward); Roy B. Kelley Elementary School, 610 E. High St. (5th Ward); Lockport High School, 250 Lincoln Ave. (towns).
• Web link: www.lockportschools.org.
Spending rises $3.1 million, or nearly 4 percent, in the $83 million budget voters will consider Tuesday. The major increases are in state-mandated pension contributions, driving a $3 million increase in employee benefits, according to a district newsletter. The budget also includes $1.2 million to pay debt incurred for the 2008 high school renovation project. On the other hand, retirements and the closure of Washington Hunt Elementary School this June have produced $1.3 million in savings. The board deleted nearly $500,000 it had intended as a contingency fund in case of federal budget cuts, assuming Congress will restore the sequestration of funds for local schools.
Candidates (Elect 3): Diane Phelps; John Williams; Randall Parker; Marietta Schrader; Edward Sandell; Todd McNall.
Schrader is a former board president who retired in 2010 after one year in her last term.
Six candidates are running for three three-year terms on the board. They are:
• Incumbent Diane Phelps, 49, is seeking her second term. She was elected as a write-in candidate three years ago. She holds a doctorate in English education and has taught education at Niagara University and the University at Buffalo.
• Incumbent Jon A. Williams, 66, is running for his third term. He has been a professor of public communication and speech at Niagara County Community College for the past 29 years.
• Randall J. Parker, 52, has been a City of Lockport firefighter since 1986, and has served as president of the Lockport Professional Fire Fighters Association.
• Marietta G. Schrader, 60, served on the board for 12 years, including four years as president, before stepping down in 2011. She is a retired nurse practitioner.
• Incumbent Edward P. Sandell, 55, is running for his third term. He is an engineering manager at the Delphi Thermal technical center in Lockport.
• Todd G. McNall, 35, is a former shop chairman of United Auto Workers Local 686 at Delphi. He now works at the GM Powertrain plant in the Town of Tonawanda and is the son of Niagara County Legislator W. Keith McNall, who was a previous School Board president.
• Candidates (elect 3): Donna Lakes of Charlotteville Road; Michele Malone of Corwin Ave.; James Schmitt of Rounds Road; Margaux Lingle of Charlotteville Road; Joseph Flagler of Lockport-Olcott Road, Lockport.
• Total Budget: $33.69 million, up 2.31 percent.
• Tax Levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2 percent.
• Tax Levy: $12.78 million, up 2 percent.
• Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: Newfane, $28.35; Lockport, $26.08
• Taxes on a $100,000 home: $2,608.
• Percentage of budget from taxes: 38 percent.
• Percentage of budget from state aid: 52 percent.
• Polls open: 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Newfane Elementary School, Main St.
• Web link: www.newfane.wnyic.org.
Voters are being presented with a budget that holds the tax increase to a flat two percent, the amount usually referred to as the tax levy limit.
Instead of seeking a larger increase, the district will cover more than nine percent of its budget from its reserve savings or about $3.2 million, officials said.
Although the state tax levy limit is frequently believed to be two percent, districts are permitted to make adjustments for items such as indebtedness and pension obligation increases. Such adjustments usually allow districts to seek a larger tax hike without needing a supermajority of voters or 60 percent to pass the budget.
• Candidates (elect 2): Ronald J. Barstys, Kevin Dobbs, Michael S. Gawel, Don J. King, Herbert L. Lewis, Anthony F. Paretto.
• Total budget: $124.06 million, up 1.32 percent.
• Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.77 percent.
• Tax levy: $25.82 million, up 3 percent.
• Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $19.21, up 3 percent.
• Taxes on $100,000 home: $1,922.
• Percentage of budget from property taxes: 21 percent.
• Percentage of budget from state aid: 73 percent.
• Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. at eight neighborhood polling sites. Polling places can be found on district’s website.
• Web link: http://www.nfschools.net/nfschools.
Voters will consider a $124.06 million budget that would increase spending by $1.62 million over the current budget.
The budget is the first in 20 years to include a tax levy increase.
District officials say the increase is driven by employee pension contributions and other contractual items.
Six candidates are running for two five-year terms on the board. They are:
• Incumbent Don J. King, 80, a more than 30-year veteran of the School Board who is a retired retail business owner.
• Incumbent Kevin Dobbs, 58, a school board member since 1997 who is a retired supervisor for Occidental Chemical.
• Ronald J. Barstys, 40, director of student services for the North Tonawanda City School District.
• Michael S. Gawel, 56, an accountant and real estate broker.
• Herbert L. Lewis, 41, a former City Council candidate and security guard at the Seneca Niagara Casino.
• Anthony F. Paretto, 46, an electrician for the City of Niagara Falls.
Candidates (elect 2): Lorna Tilley-Peltier, Lori Pittman and Amy Deull.
Total budget: $62.75 million, up 3.69 percent
Tax levy increase allowed under cap: 5.91 percent
Tax levy: $30.35 million, up 5.91 percent
Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: Town of Niagara, $29.27 (homestead), $39.35 (nonhomestead); Wheatfield, $24.71 (h), $33.78 (n); Lewiston, $20.86 (h), $28.06 (n); Cambria, $17.11 (h), $17.11 (n).
Taxes on a $100,000 home: $1,711.
Percentage of budget from property taxes: 49 percent
Percentage of budget from state aid: 46 percent
Proposition 2: Whether to allow a representative from the high school senior class to sit on the School Board as a member who would not have voting rights or be allowed to attend executive sessions. Students who apply to be a board member would have to meet specific criteria and would be selected by the board.
Polls Open: 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Adult Learning Center, 2292 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn, N.Y.
Web link: www.nwcsd.k12.ny.us/nwcsd/site.
Voters will decide on a budget that had to address a $1 million deficit by eliminating six teaching positions, but not touching kindergarten, as threatened, or sports and the arts programs.
According to school officials, the cuts to cover the budget shortfall total $1.07 million. The instructional cuts come to the equivalent of six teaching positions, while other items in the savings are $414,975 in retirements, $40,975 for three school monitors, one cleaner at $29,415, and $115,000 for 18 hours a day in teaching assistants. School board members had suggested cutting kindergarten back half-time or even entirely until they were approached by dozens of residents who objected.
If the budget goes down, they said kindergarten, a nonmandated program, would be reduced or eliminated for a second budget vote.
This budget represents the third year the district has had to make significant program and personnel cuts and increase taxes since it was pressured into depleting its reserve fund by the State Comptroller’s Office.
Voters will elect two members. The highest vote-getter of the three candidates would begin serving on May 21, immediately after the vote to fill the remaining term of a previous vacancy to June 30. The term would continue to June 30, 2016. The term of the second highest would begin July 1 for three years.
• Lorna Tilley-Peltier of Ward Road, Wheatfield
• Incumbent Lori Pittman of Lauer Road, Town of Niagara
• Amy Deull of Millville Circle, Wheatfield.
• Candidates (elect 2): Colleen Osborn, Arthur Pappas, Robert D. Schmigel, Susanne Williams, and Randy Bradt.
• Total budget: $65.74 million, up 1.53 percent.
• Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.56 percent.
• Tax levy: $26.83 million, up 2.56 percent.
• Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $21.48, up 2.558 percent.
• Taxes on $100,000 home: $2,084.
• Percentage of budget from property taxes: 41 percent.
• Percentage of budget from state aid: 49 percent.
• Polls open: noon to 9 p.m. in Alumni Center at North Tonawanda High School, 405 Meadow Drive.
• Web link: www.ntschools.org.
Voters will consider a $65.74 million budget that would increase spending by $987,861 over the current budget.
The rise in spending is driven by benefit costs, primarily the retirement system and contractual increases in salary, said Alan Getter, assistant superintendent for administrative services.
This year nine retirements helped the district keep costs down. “Last year we had zero,” Getter said.
Five candidates are running for two three-year terms on the board. They are:
• Colleen Osborn, 38, an incumbent, a medical office manager studying for a master’s in nursing, running for a second term. She wants to continue to find ways for the community to use school buildings and to encourage the district to share information in a transparent, accountable way.
• Arthur Pappas, 68, an incumbent, served on the board for 15 years, a decade of those as president. A retired elementary and middle school teacher with Starpoint Central School, he is now running for his sixth term. He aims to collaborate with the city to save costs on such things as snowplowing and bring an educator’s perspective to the board. “With education it’s the students that should come first. Discussion should revolve around that,” he said.
• New are: Robert D. Schmigel, 44, a father of three and store manager at CVS, wants to balance school needs with keeping the budget and taxes down.
• Susanne Williams, 46, an office manager in dental and medical practices, would work to maintain sports and art programs and draw on her experience developing an educational program with her son.
• Randy Bradt, 42, a father of three and an accountant and owner of Nicastro Accounting Services in Amherst.
Candidates (elect two): Daniel Bragg; Sara Fry.
Total budget: $22.02 million, down slightly.
Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 6.1 percent.
Tax levy: $9.36 million up 3 percent.
Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $22.49, up 3 percent.
Taxes on a $100,000 home: $2,249.
Percentage of budget from property taxes: 42 percent.
Percentage of budget from state aid: 49 percent.
Polls open: noon to 8 p.m. in Roy-Hart High School gym, 54 State St., Middleport.
Web link: www.royhart.org.
Voters will take to the polls to consider a $22 million budget, which represents a 0.17 percent decrease in spending from the current budget, according to Superintendent Kevin MacDonald. “We made significant cuts in the past four to five years and while the cuts were made in past years, they have had significant benefits that continue,” he said.
One of the cuts included a new agreement with Barker schools to share a superintendent. Barker’s Roger Klatt will oversee both districts, while MacDonald leaves Roy-Hart to head Genesee Valley Educational Partnerships.
Other cost-saving moves have included laying off teachers “and we have had a fair number of retirements that has helped,” MacDonald said. “We’re trying to be understanding of the community’s needs, while still managing the cuts in state aid we suffered years ago and not balance the budget on the backs of the taxpayers. We feel we’re as close to bare bones as we can get.”
There are two candidates running unopposed for two three-year terms. They are:
• Daniel Bragg, 58, completing his ninth year on board and is its current vice president. He is manager of Standish Jones Building Supply.
• Sara Fry, 46, office manager for Hypertherm, Lockport. This is her first time running for a seat.
• Candidates (elect 4): Susan M. Brooks, Jeffrey D. Duncan, Michael D. Zimmerman, Eugene E. Stanwich, Andrea L. Wick, Kevin P. Duffy, Dennis P. Toth, Sherri Weber.
• Total budget: $46.55 million, up 2.6 percent.
• Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.86 percent.
• Tax levy: $25.81 million, up 3.18 percent.
• Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $22.23, up 1.99 percent in Cambria.
• Taxes on $100,000 home: $2,223.
• Percentage of budget from property taxes: 55.4 percent.
• Percentage of budget from state aid: 39 percent.
• Polls open: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the middle school gymnasium, 4363 Mapleton Road, Pendleton.
• Web link: starpointcsd.org.
Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan said the proposed Starpoint budget of $46.55 million, which shows a spending increase of less than $1.2 million, doesn’t really cover the district’s cost increases. “The cost of doing business as usual is $3.5 million,” he said. “We have reduced quite a bit, about $950,000, plus $300,000 in extra state aid.” He said the district has had 24 retirees in the last four years that haven’t been replaced.
Eight candidates are running for four seats on the board. The top three finishers receive three-year terms; the fourth-place finisher wins a one-year term. The candidates are:
• Susan M. Brooks, 42 of Pendleton, a director of nursing at Buffalo General Medical Center.
• Incumbent Jeffrey D. Duncan, 40, of Pendleton, who is running for his second term. He is a service account engineer at Siemens in Amherst.
• Incumbent Michael D. Zimmerman, 47, of Pendleton, is a chief master sergeant in the 914th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, working as a load master superintendent on C-130 cargo planes. He is seeking his third term.
• Eugene E. Stanwich, 64, of Wheatfield, has a doctorate in education and retired after 32 years as a librarian in Amherst schools.
• Andrea L. Wick, 38, of Pendleton, works at a Buffalo accounting firm.
• Kevin P. Duffy, 42, of the Town of Lockport, served two terms on the Lockport School Board when he lived in that district. He is a psychologist in the Buffalo public schools and in private practice.
• Incumbent Dennis P. Toth, 57, of Pendleton, is a captain in the Niagara Falls Fire Department, where he has worked for 27 years. He is running for his second term.
• Sherri Weber, 42, of the Town of Lockport, is a professor of elementary education and reading at SUNY Buffalo State.
Candidates (elect two): Timothy Kropp, Mark Randall and Amy Phillips.
Total budget: $24.29 million, up 3.5 percent.
Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5 percent.
Tax levy: $11.32 million, up 4 percent.
Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $27.42, up 4 percent.
Taxes on $100,000 home: $2,523.
Percentage of budget from property taxes: 47 percent.
Percentage of budget from state aid: 48 percent.
Polls open: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in R. Zipp Gym at Wilson High School, 412 Lake St.
Web link: www.wilson.wnyric.org.
Voters will consider a budget that increases spending 3.5 percent due to debt service, salaries, BOCES contracts, materials and supplies, according to school officials.
There are three candidates running for two board seats. The candidates for three-year terms are:
• Timothy F. Kropp, 63, an incumbent, has served on the board 18 years and is current board president. He is a retired lineman for the New York Power Authority.
• Mark Randall, 57, an incumbent, is a truck driver and has served on the board for six years. He also serves as vice president of Niagara-Orleans School Board Association.
• Amy Phillips, 36, is executive secretary for the chief of surgery for Kaleida Health Systems and chairman of the department of surgery at the University at Buffalo. This is her first time running for public office.